Today’s Regulatory Mix: ECF Program Draft Rules Exclude Desktops/Mobile Phones, FCC Seeks Comment on RDOF ETC Applications, Idaho Extends Suspension of ITSAP Surcharge
ECF Program Draft Rules Exclude Desktops/Mobile Phones
The FCC circulated draft rules that, if adopted, would govern the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF Program). The ECF Program would reimburse schools and libraries for the purchase of eligible equipment and services for students, school staff, and library patrons during the pandemic. Eligible equipment includes Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, devices that combine a modem and router, and connected devices. Connected devices are “laptop computers, tablet computers, or similar end-user devices…” Based on this definition, the FCC concluded that desktop computers and mobile phones, including smart phones, are not “connected devices” and therefore do not qualify for reimbursement under the ECF Program.
FCC Seeks Comment on RDOF ETC Applications
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on two petitions submitted for designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC). Each petitioner is a winning bidder, or those assigned support through the division of winning bids, under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction. The petitioners, and the states in which ETC status is sought, include Troy Cablevision (Alabama), and Conexon Connect (Colorado). Comments are due by May 25 and reply comments by June 1, 2021.
Idaho Extends Suspension of ITSAP Surcharge
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has extended the suspension of the Idaho Telecommunication Service Assistance Program (ITSAP) surcharge rate for budget year 2021. Providers are still required to abide by the reporting requirements. This suspension will remain in effect until the next annual budget review. Staff encourages carriers to keep this line item on their bill at $0.00 until the surcharge is reinstated.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.